“Mike Balick is one of the great botanical experts of our time, smart and experienced, and a big deal at New York Botanical garden, one of the most august and highly regarded botanical centers on earth. Articulate and well published, Mike continues to make a great contribution to botany.” – Chris Kilham

Dr. Michael J. Balick
Vice President Botanical Science
Plant Science, Ecology, Ethno Medicine, Cultural Diversity


Michael J. Balick is an ethnobotanist with a specialty in medicinal and food plants, and the role they play in traditional health care (ethno medical) systems. Since the early 1970s he has worked with indigenous cultures around the world studying how people interact with the plants in their environment, and towards conservation of biological and cultural diversity.

Michael received his Ph.D. and A.M. in Biology from Harvard University, with an undergraduate major in horticulture and plant science from the University of Delaware. He has worked at The New York Botanical Garden, currently in the position of Phil ecology Curator of Economic Botany and Director of the NYBG Institute of Economic Botany and the Vice President for Botanical Science, and he teaches ethnobotany at Columbia University and The City University of New York.

For nearly three decades, Michael has studied the relationship between plants and people, working with traditional cultures. To date, he has conducted 56 international expeditions to carry out fieldwork as a specialist working with indigenous cultures to document their plant knowledge, understand the environmental effects of their traditional management systems, and develop sustainable utilization systems, while ensuring that the benefits of such work are always shared with local communities.

Michael has authored, co-authored, or edited 18 books and numerous scientific and popular articles, and has received numerous awards and honors for his scientific research and achievements, including the Distinguished Economic Botanist award from the Society for Economic Botany in 2009. He frequently appears on television, radio and in print media discussing the need for documenting the ancient wisdom of traditional cultures and keeping it in practice.

Recently, the Medicine Hunter paid a visit to the great Dr. Micheal Balick. Click on the following links to watch the Fox News TV segments:

More to come!

Ph.D., A.M.